Today: Ron Paul, Michael Isikoff, and Benjamin Todd Jealous.
Rachel started us off by continuing her ongoing tests to see how hard she can make a nation clench its jaws by announcing that the Department of Justice’s Office of Professional Responsibility has released a report that recommends disbarment but no criminal charges for the three main players in the torture memos scandal.
I hope everyone had their bite plates in.
Newsweek’s Michael Isikoff was more comforting than I expected him to be. Apparently disbarment would be a bigger deal to lawyers than it seems to outsiders.
But I would like it to seem like a big deal to me too. Can we call disbarment something else? Ultimate Flaming Punishment of Doom or something?
Meat the Press
Field trip! President Obama and Vice President Biden surprised the White House Press Pool with a trip to Ray’s Hell Burger for lunch.
The Republican Party immediately released scathing statements against the redistribution of condiments and claimed to have always been vegetarians.
The General Speaks
Lest we get lost in the words of the torture memos, Rachel reminded us of just how appalling things got in Abu Ghraib — and reminded us that things got that horrific for reasons we still don’t fully understand.
Retired Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez, the top U.S. commander in Iraq during 2003–2004, joined Rachel to try to sort out the huge tangle of problems that got us to such an awful place.
As part of a crackdown on a separatist movement, the government of Yemen has shut down the newspapers, not to mention confiscating and burning issues that have already been published.
Rachel recommended buying a reporter a drink. I recommend putting your secessionists on television and making gentle fun of them.
The Birthers are having an East Coast–West Coast feud. Wow. Conservatives really are going hip-hop.
Lubbock, Texas is considering opening up its liquor laws to make it easier to buy alcohol for home consumption.
In a related story, Rachel has just unblurred Lubbock, Texas from her personal edition of Google Earth.
After softening everybody up by talking about the Republican Party’s fragmentation and its fits-and-starts attempts at regrouping, Rachel decided to freak us all the hell out by bringing on Congressman Ron Paul (R – Texas) and asking him questions that make him sound totally normal and levelheaded.
I agreed with him about a lot of things, including the need to break the Democrat-Republican stranglehold on American politics that allows them to reduce every single issue to a dumbass high school football rivalry mascot-stealing pissing match instead of actually thinking about what might be good for the country.
I am impressed at how sane Ron Paul sounds in interviews until he takes one of his little side trips to Loopytown and you remember that this is the guy who inspired people to make a point about financial responsibility by spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to rent a blimp while gluing teabags to their foreheads.
You will have to excuse me if I am not totally sold on Ron Paul.
Senator Jefferson Sessions (R – Confederate Alabama) is the guy the Republican Party has picked to be beyond the cutting edge of civil rights. For real.
Rachel treated us to some choice moments from the ill-fated 1986 judicial hearing that first introduced us to Sessions’s deep, patriotic concerns about un-American groups like the NAACP. Then-Senator Biden suggested that not everyone shares Jeff’s rollicking enjoyment of Klan-related humor.
(While were on the topic, can we cut Joe Biden some slack for 30 seconds? I know: He sometimes gets excited and says funny things in public. And I know that the Constitution specifically lists “serving as a buffoone for the amusement of the Publicke” as part of the Vice President’s job description. But when it comes to righteous indignation, the guy throws a pretty good punch.)
Rachel welcomed NAACP President and noted anti-American Benjamin Todd Jealous to try to come to grips with the fact that we really do have a Senator who commutes to work via time machine.
I’ll meet you in Lubbock to try to ease the embarrassment.